due to a classification
As my new work will probably be classified as a New Realism of some kind, though I dislike any classification, I am posting a few words on the whereabouts of this so-called movement…
Nouveau Rationalisme, New Realism, was founded in October 1960 with a joint declaration whose signatories were Yves Klein, Arman, Francois DufrÃªne, Raymond Hains, Pierre Restany, Daniel Spoerri, Jean Tinguely and Jacques de la VilleglÃ©; in 1961 these were joined by CÃ©sar, Mimmo Rotella, then Niki de Saint Phalle and Gerard Deschamps.
These artists declared that they had come together on the basis of a new awareness of their “collective singularity”. For all the diversity of their plastic language, they did indeed perceive a common basis for their work, this being a method of direct appropriation of reality, equivalent, in the terms used by Pierre Restany, to a “poetic recycling of urban, industrial and advertising reality” (60/90. Trente ans de Nouveau RÃ©alisme, La DiffÃ©rence, 1990, p 76).
Their group activity and the exhibitions they mounted together covered the period from 1962 to 1963, but the history of New Realism continued at least up until 1970, the year of the group’s tenth anniversary, which was marked by the organisation of large-scale events.
Much as this new awareness of a “collective singularity” was decisive, their grouping was clearly motivated by the intervention and the theoretical input of the art critic Pierre Restany. Being first interested by abstract art, he moved towards the elaboration of a sociological aesthetic after his meeting with Klein in 1958, and in large part the group’s theoretical justification was his.
The term Nouveau RÃ©alisme (New Realism) was forged by Pierre Restany during an early group exhibition in May 1960. By returning to “realism” as a category, he was referring to the 19th-century artistic and literary movement which aimed to describe ordinary everyday reality without any idealisation. Yet, this realism was “new”, in the sense that there was a Nouveau Roman in fiction and a New Wave in film: in the first place it connects itself to the new reality deriving from an urban consumer society, in the second place its descriptive mode is also new because it no longer is identified with a representation through the making of an appropriate image, but consists in the presentation of the object chosen by the artist.
It is also thanks to Pierre Restany that New Realism was defended on the international scene in the face of an emerging American art form, Pop Art, and financially supported by a network of dealers and collectors.
up:Raymond Hains, Panneau dâ€™affichage (Billboard), 1960
Torn posters on panel of galvanised sheet metal
200 x 150 cm
bottom: Yves Klein, Monochrome Bleu (Monochrome Blue) (IKB 3), 1960
Pure pigment and synthetic resin on canvas mounted on wood
199 x 153 cm